About

In this blog I’m gonna talk about my Kala Ubass and how I use it.

This little bass is truly amazing.
The sound is at least more than twice it’s size :)

Come along on my ”quest” to make the Ubass work in all kinds of different settings!

Bio
Magnus has been playing bass some 25+ years. He started out in local rock bands playing in his friends basement and garage! Then followed some years of studying bass and music. He took bass lessons while studying at a ”folkhogskola” in Sweden in the late 80s. Meeting new musical friends and styles there.
1996 he graduated from the University of Orebro with a masters of fine art in music education degree. Since then the mix of playing gigs in various genres and teaching has kept him busy.

Finding out about the Kala UBass was a nice surprise. Trying to find fresh new ways of expressing his music has always been important. The UBass is one of those fresh new instruments. It makes you look at music making in new and inspiring perspectives!

Please subscribe to my blog! You can do that in the top left sidebar!

playubass.com-info

…and why not check out my other blog too!

For more info about the Kala UBasses please visit ubass.com

/magnus

Website:

gigbýte.se

EPK
Info folder [English] [Svenska]

18 thoughts on “About

  1. Hi, I read so much on your site before buying my Kala black solid body u-bass which I’ve used a few times on-stage. Last time was last night. I’m a bass player of about 25 years and love the idea of the u-bass but I wondered if you had any tips for tuning as I’ve tried the normal tuners you can attach to the headstock but they dont’ work at all.
    I bought an EBS Studio 60 amp and I’ve just bought a BOSS LMB-3 Bass Enhancer to improve the sound of the lowest string. But I wondered how long it takes to get used to the relative slackness of the strings in comparison to those on a normal electric bass?
    Colin
    Liverpool, UK

    • Hi Colin!

      I’m glad you play Ubass one of the coolest instrument there is :)
      I hope you have found some interesting things on my site!

      About the strings. I guess you use the stock ones, the black so called Pahoehoe!? I have played Ubass about 2,5 years now and I believe it tajes some time getting used to the new feeling of the rubber stings. Playing with a light touch is I guess a must. It has also helped me NOT think about the different feeling too much but rather just play and having making music as the primary goal. This might sound a bit ‘out there’ or ‘mumbo jumbo’ (sorry can’t find any better words or ways to describe it…) But I hope you get the picture :)

      The solid body SUB has a lot of low end (hence the name – it was designed with this intention) You say that you feel that the Low E is a bit softer in volume compared to the rest of the strings. Sometimes just adjusting the position over the bridge saddle can help a bit! Playing through a PA with a sub really bring out the great low end. But that’s of course not always possible. I have played a lot of gigs through a BOSE L1 Compact system and the extra low end the sub in that system provides is great. Sometimes a combo will have a hard time with the lowest bass and I know that some players use a low cut/hi pass filter to take out those sub (below about 30 Hz) when they play through a smaller amp. I have never done that and I my smallest rig uses a 10 inch speaker that I feel works great in small rooms. And I don’t feel that the cab had to much trouble with the lows at moderate volume levels.

      I’m planning a test of three different cabs using the same amp! I’ll post this on my blog as soon as I had the time to do the test!

      Good luck with your Ubass playing!
      /Magnus
      playubass.com

  2. Thanks Magnus. I understand what you are saying about ”just playing”. Maybe I’m too hung up on that lower string. I’m gigging tonight so I’ll see if I can put into practice what you suggest.

    A friend recommended the new Kala strings, I forget what they are called, but he said they were less rubber-like and more like the steel strings found on a conventional bass. I’ll look into that in case I find them easier to play. PLus I’ll play around with my Boss pedal and what difference that might make.

    Thanks for putting together such a great site for us ”U-Bass’ers”!!
    :-)

    Colin

    • Hi again Colin!

      Thanks for your kind words!

      There are (at least) four different stings for UBass.
      1. The regular black polyurethane stings ‘Pahoehoe’!(Comes stock om most Ubasses – now the new Rumblers might be stock on some instruments..)
      2. Aquila ‘Thundergut’ – white strings with a little less rubbery feeling. Feels like they have more ‘tension’ and might be easier to keep in tune because of that…
      3. ‘Rumblers’ Made by Aquila for Kala. Similar to the white Thundergut’s (but with a grey finish).
      4. Pyramid. More like traditional steel strings.
      (6
      I made a comparison between Pahoehoe and Thundergut strings on my blog a while ago:

      http://playubass.com/2012/10/11/song-teaser-another-song-for-the-speaking-ubass-project/

      Good luck at the gig!
      /Magnus S,
      playubass.com

  3. Thanks Magnus.

    I think it’s the Pyramids. I’ll give them a try and let you know how I get on.
    :-)

    Colin

  4. hi magnus. thanks for maintaining a great blog on the u-bass. i’ve been planning to buy one and was wondering if you could help me. i’m eying the UBASS-SSMHG-FS (solid spruce top) but can’t find in the kala website (or anywhere else, for that matter) what kind of preamp it has. does it have the mi-si? or something else? any information on this would be greatly appreciated. here’s the exact product i want to buy so there’s no confusion: http://www.kalabrand.com/Models/U-BASS/DetailsPageSolidSpruceTop.html

    • Hi Jon!

      I’m glad you find my blog/site useful!

      I haven’t got the specs for the built in pre-amp, EQ and tuner but I believe it’s battery powered while the Mi-Si uses a charger. (Charge for 60 sec and get about 8 hours of playtime).

      I can try to check with the Kala guys to get some more details!

      Is it mainly the battery thing you want to sort out or is it something more you’re curlicues about?

      One more question: Do you plan to buy the fretted or fretless version?
      I’ve got the 2010 model of the same Ubass (fretless).
      (Without pre-amp since they weren’t available then).
      It’s the Ubass that is featured in most of my videos.
      I’m super happy with the spruce model and I hope you will love it too!
      /Magnus

  5. thanks for the quick reply. my main concern is the battery. i would actually prefer the battery powered one because the batteries are readily available here in the philippines. if it were the charger i would be constantly afraid of what would happen in case it breaks (or i lose it). unless the charger is generic, like the ones used for cell phones.

    the only solid spruce top model available here is fretted, so i’ll go with that because that’s what i’m used to also. i would like to someday get a fretless also, though. right now i can’t wait to get my first u-bass! it’ll most probably be this weekend. i’ll be sure to send you pictures of it.

    many thanks!

    • Reply to Jon from the Philippines:

      Hi Jon!

      I got this reply from Kala:
      ”Yes it is battery powered pre-amp. The Mi-Si was used only the USA made instruments.”

      The answer you wanted, right!?

      I wish you the best of luck with your Ubass purchase and may you have many great moments making sweet music with it!

      I have plans on starting a photo poster wall on my blog and want people to send me pictures of them and their Ubasses. I have only got a few but will soon start the wall and then add more pictures as they come! Please send me a picture with you and your Ubass once you have got yours. Please pick a place, preferable in a nice outside location you like! (Inside is of course fine too!)

      Take care and if you want please subscribe to my newsletter that will come out about every other month. I will try to write about stuff that haven’t been a post on my blog of Facebook page!

      Here’s a link to the newsletter:

      http://us6.campaign-archive1.com/?u=282fa67e87b4b3c05766e355e&id=8089a6e3f3

      All the best,
      Magnus
      playubass.com

  6. yes, that’s what i wanted to hear! :-) it’s easier (and very cheap) to just buy a handful of those batteries than carry around a charger.

    i’ll be sure to take a nice photo of myself with the u-bass once i purchase it. i subscribed to your newsletter just now, and i’m planning to also write about the u-bass in my blog (which by the way is jonalism.com) :-) many thanks for all the help!

  7. hi magnus. unfortunately i have had to postpone buying the ubass because i had to pay for something else first :-) but i am also using the time to scout for used ubasses that may be a better bargain. i found this ad in a local website for a second-hand solid mahogany ubass (model KA-UBASS-FS) and was wondering if you could help me make a decision on it. i understand that the older ubasses have passive pickups, and i remember you saying in a post that your ubass has a passive pickup. how does it sound? would i need a preamp on all occasions, or would i still sound good plugged directly to an amp? thanks for any input you may have. here’s a link to the ad (the price is considerably lower than a brand new one):

    http://www.sulit.com.ph/index.php/view+classifieds/id/36223629/Kala+Mahogany+U-Bass?referralKeywords=ubass&event=Search+Ranking,Position,1-2,2#advertisementDetails

    • Hi Jon!

      I just check the link you posted. It looks like a nice deal. The case that is included is really nice! I have been thinking of getting one instead of the gig bag style I’ve got now. Do you live near the seller? In that case I would suggest that you try to meet up. This way you can try it out and check so it’s all good with no cracks and that it plays well!

      Since that version (I guess the original) was delivered with a passive piezo setup I would strongly suggest that you get an outboard pre-amp to put between the Ubass and the amp. That way you will get a nicer and more warm sound!

      I have used a couple of different ones. The first one (I used it for a long time and still do from time to time) was an old Fishman pre-amp. It was a clip-on version with volume, treble and bass controls. This way I can use it attached to my strap and easily adjust volume and tone!
      Since then I have used the Headway pre and for almost a year I’m endorsing the RMI Basswitch IQ/DI which is really great. It has a lot more features that makes it easy for me to switch between different basses when I play concerts.

      I will include some links to previous blog posts about pre-amps below!

      Good luck with your purchase!

      /Magnus

      Links:
      http://playubass.com/2011/12/04/tips-and-tricks-amplifying-your-ubass/
      http://playubass.com/2012/02/01/pre-amp-shoot-out/
      http://playubass.com/2013/06/17/basswitch-iq-di/

  8. thanks for the help. i’m close to making a decision :-) unfortunately i live about 900 kilometers away from the seller, so i will have to trust him on this one. i just discovered that he is a pretty well-known bass player and videographer in manila so maybe he won’t try to put one over me :-)

    i want to ask you one more thing about the passive pickup: does it pick up the sound of the soundboard also, like the active pickup does? i mean, can i get a sound if i tap or hit the soundboard when plugged in? i’m a pretty percussive player and i would want that to be a feature on the ubass i would be playing.

    thanks again for being so patient with me :-)

    • Hi!
      No worries, I’m glad to be able to help out in some way!
      I do think this ”offer” is good and I hope you will be satisfied!
      About the pickup:
      I have made some videos with a bit if percussive ”on-the-top” (maybe not over the top, but still ;-) playing.
      To accentuate the second one I did I also recorded with a condenser mic.
      This is of course not ideal in a live setting. In the first video (take the A-train looped) I played dampened strings by the bridge to get some kind of bass drum/snare percussion backing to play over. I haven’t played UBass models with built in preamps that much so I can’t really compare. But I do think it will be about the same with the passive. However getting some kind of preamp suitable for piezo pickups is a great way to enhance the sound of the passive pickup! Good luck!

  9. yeah, i’ve been watching your videos and was wondering if the percussive parts were recorded with a microphone or if the pickup could pick up the taps on the soundboard. so it turns out the pickup is exactly what i want :-)

    many many thanks, magnus! i think i will take this offer on the solid mahogany ubass. hopefully by the weekend i will have it with me :-)

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